LIPARUS

Entry Source: The James Bond Movie Encyclopedia by Steven Jay Rubin


A supertanker belonging to billionaire shipping magnate Karl Stromberg (Curt Jurgens), the pride of his fleet and the linchpin in his scheme to destroy the world in The Spy Who Loved Me. The second largest tanker in the world at over a million tons—behind the Soviet ship Karl Marx—it is equipped with enormous bow doors that can swing open and swallow nuclear submarines whole. Hence, it isn’t surprising that the interior set for the Liparus, built on the 007 Stage at Pinewood Studios, was dubbed the “Jonah Set”—after the biblical figure who was swallowed by a whale. Inside the Liparus is a fascinating mini-harbor with docking space for three submarines, a monorail, an armored control room, and a virtual army of sailors, some of whom will eventually gain control of two of the captured subs.

After noticing a model of the Liparus at Stromberg’s Atlantis laboratory, Bond (Roger Moore) and KGB agent Anya Amasova (Barbara Bach) check up on the supertanker’s history and discover that since it was fitted out nine months before, it has never once been in port—obviously, Stromberg’s hiding something. After the billionaire takes captured Anya back to his Atlantis base and two subs exit the tanker, Bond makes his move. Stealing a ride in a monorail car, he clubs a guard (in a scene that is practically identical to one in You Only Live Twice inside Blofeld’s volcano rocket base) and frees the three captured submarine crews.

Breaking into the armory, Bond and the escaping submariners outfit themselves with machine guns and hand grenades, and launch an all-out assault on the Liparus crew. The following battle sequence is one of the most impressive ever seen in the Bond series, a credit to director John Glen and his stunt and effects teams. Despite heavy casualties and the loss of the British submarine’s commander (Bryan Marshall), 007’s men succeed in breaking into the control room. Using a ship’s computer, Bond sends new attack coordinates to the two enemy submarines so that when they launch their nuclear missiles, they will destroy each other instead. On fire from numerous internal explosions caused by the pitched battle, the Liparus eventually sinks, but not before the last sub, the USS Wayne, escapes—with Bond aboard.

The concept of a supertanker swallowing a nuclear submarine was not far-fetched, especially when the last scene in the film featured a real British naval vessel with the capability of flooding its cargo area to receive the Atlantis escape pod.